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COMMISSIONER'S BULLETIN # B-0028-13

November 22, 2013


To: ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES, CORPORATIONS, EXCHANGES, MUTUALS, RECIPROCALS, ASSOCIATIONS, LLOYDS, OR OTHER INSURERS WRITING PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS, INCLUDING ELIGIBLE SURPLUS LINES INSURERS, AND TO OTHER AGENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PUBLIC GENERALLY


Re: LEGISLATION ENACTED - 83rd LEGISLATIVE REGULAR SESSION

This bulletin provides information and brief summaries of selected bills enacted during the 83rd Legislative Regular Session, which may be relevant to individuals and entities regulated by the Regulatory Policy Division, Property and Casualty Section, at the Texas Department of Insurance.

The bills listed in this bulletin may require action by regulated individuals and entities.

The department is only providing information with regard to the particular provisions of the bills that may apply to property and casualty coverage. Please refer to the actual bills for the complete content of the legislation. If you are viewing this bulletin via a web-enabled computer, each bill number listed below will link directly to the enrolled bill text. You may also access the bills, as well as other legislative information, at the Texas Legislature Online website at www.capitol.state.tx.us. While the department encourages use of the bulletin to aid in compliance efforts, regulated individuals and entities are responsible for ensuring compliance with all enacted legislation affecting the business they conduct.

In order to completely and timely implement any changes necessary to comply with new and amended statutes, please share this information with all staff, agents, and other parties that are affected by the legislation. Insurers should review each bill listed in this bulletin and make the appropriate filings to amend rates, policy forms, or underwriting guidelines. All regulated individuals and entities should make appropriate changes to internal policies and procedures to comply with the new legislation, and should monitor the department's website for rules that may be proposed to implement the legislation. Note that, in addition to monitoring the department's website, an "eNews" application is available at www.tdi.texas.gov/alert/emailnews.html. By signing up for particular categories of information, interested parties can receive notification emails regarding proposed rules, bulletins, and other items of interest.

If you have questions concerning this bulletin, please contact the Personal and Commercial Lines Office by phone at 512-305-6711, or by email at CommercialPC@tdi.texas.gov or AutoHome@tdi.texas.gov.

House and Senate Bills Relating to Property and Casualty Insurers*

House Bills

HB 949 Continuation of Auto Coverage for Certain Motor Vehicles - HB 949 requires a personal automobile policy to provide coverage for certain vehicles acquired by the insured during the policy period.

Effective September 1, 2013. Applies only to an insurance policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after January 1, 2014.

Senate Bills

SB 112 Residential Property Declarations Page - SB 112 requires the insurer to include the declarations page with its residential property insurance policy form. The declarations page must list and explain each deductible under the policy and include the exact dollar amount of each deductible.

Effective September 1, 2013. Applies only to an insurance policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after January 1, 2014.

SB 181 Verification of Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Information - SB 181 allows a driver to show proof of auto liability insurance to a peace officer with a wireless communication device.

Effective immediately.

SB 183 Information Requests - SB 183 increases the time a person has to respond to a Texas Insurance Code §38.001 request for information from the Texas Department of Insurance from 10 days to 15 days. The bill provides for a 10-day automatic extension if requested and requires the department to keep a record of all TIC §38.001 inquiries.

Effective September 1, 2013. Applies only to an inquiry made by the department on or after that date.

SB 698 Refund of Unearned Premium - SB 698 requires insurers to return unearned premium to consumers on residential property and personal automobile insurance policies within 15 business days of the effective date of cancellation or termination.

Effective immediately.

SB 733 Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association - SB 733 authorizes the governing committee of TAIPA to meet by telephone or videoconference and eliminates annual rate filings. The bill requires the commissioner to approve or disapprove rate filings within 30 days and provides for an extension of the review period. It also requires a rate hearing only if the proposed rates exceed 105 percent of the current rates for each coverage.

Effective immediately.

SB 736 Consumer Inquiries - SB 736 prohibits insurers from using an underwriting guideline, nonrenewing, cancelling, or charging a different rate based solely on a consumer inquiry.

Effective September 1, 2013.

SB 839 Coverage for Portable Electronic Devices - SB 839 requires insurers to provide notice to consumers when a portable electronics insurance policy changes or terminates coverage. It allows an insurer to terminate a policy without notice under certain circumstances. The bill also requires licensed vendors to disclose the inclusion of insurance coverage when the coverage is included in the cost associated with the purchase or lease of a covered electronic device.

Effective September 1, 2013.

SB 840 Discrimination, Rebates, or Inducements - SB 840 allows insurers or their agents to give an item that is a promotional advertising item, educational item, or traditional courtesy commonly extended to consumers and that is valued at $25 or less.

Effective September 1, 2013.

SB 852 Availability of Certain Property and Casualty Insurance Forms - SB 852 allows an insurer to post personal and commercial automobile, inland marine, and residential property specimen policies and endorsements on the insurer's website. An insured may request a printed or electronic copy of a specimen policy. Declaration pages for new and renewal business must provide information about policies being available on the insurer's website. Companies may submit their declaration pages and specimen policies through SERFF.

Effective September 1, 2013.

SB 1074 Electronic Transmission of Insurance Documentation - SB 1074 addresses the conduct of insurance business electronically and the electronic transmission of insurance documents. It provides detailed minimum standards and requires compliance with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act in the Business and Commerce Code Chapter 322. The bill specifies that electronic delivery is equivalent to any delivery method required by law, including delivery by first class mail, postage prepaid, and certified mail.

Effective September 1, 2013. Applies only to a written communication delivered by electronic means on or after January 1, 2014.

SB 1286 Professional Employer Services/Organizations - SB 1286 defines co-employment and establishes who is responsible for various employment issues and how the relationship works between clients and the Professional Employer Organization (PEO). It allows clients to purchase their own workers' compensation insurance rather than being covered under the workers' compensation policy for the PEO. It defines covered employee and provides information about which experience modifier applies in various situations.

Effective September 1, 2013.

SB 1567 Coverage of Certain Persons Under an Automobile Insurance Policy - SB 1567 defines a named driver policy and requires that all personal auto policies provide at least the minimum coverage required by Chapter 601, Subchapter D, Transportation Code. Before accepting any premium or fee for a named driver policy, SB 1567 requires: 1) the agent or insurer to provide oral and written disclosures to the insured; 2) the insured to contemporaneously in writing confirm the oral disclosure; and 3) the insurer to receive a signed disclosure from the insured.

Effective September 1, 2013. Applies only to an insurance policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after January 1, 2014.

SB 1702 Residential Property Insured by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association - SB 1702 modified eligibility requirements for certain residential structures that do not have a certificate of compliance showing that construction meets the windstorm building code.

Effective immediately.

* This listing may not include all bills affecting your insurance business.

C. H. Mah

Associate Commissioner

Property and Casualty Section



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